Sports

Lochman chosen to take over Souhegan football

Thursday, February 28, 2013

By GARY FITZ

Staff Writer

Mike Lochman was just out of college when he landed a football coaching job at Milford High School 15 years ago. When the season ended, he got a call from his old Merrimack High School coach, Joe Raycraft.

Since Lochman had helped prepare the Spartans for a game against rival Souhegan during the season, would he help his old school get ready for the Sabers in their Thanksgiving Day game?

Lochman returned to his alma mater and soon joined the staff on a permanent basis. As he moved up through the coaching ranks, eventually joining Milt Robinson’s staff at Hollis Bookline, there was always that annual game with Souhegan. A few years ago, the Cavaliers and Sabers met twice, the second time coming in Hollis Brookline’s first ever playoff game.

When the Hollis Brookline and Souhegan head coaching positions opened up late last fall, Lochman was interested in both. Fellow Hollis Brookline assistant Rick Bergskaug landed the Hollis Brookline job and Lochman was hired at Souhegan.

It’s a good fit for the 37-year-old New Boston resident, who works in human resources at BAE Systems in Nashua. His drive home now usually includes a stop at Souhegan to help in the off-season weight training program.

He knows he has big shoes to fill.

Before stepping down in November, former Souhegan coach Mike Beliveau led the Sabers to the playoffs 14 times in the previous 15 years, winning Division III championships in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Lochman said he met last week with Beliveau, who will continue to teach at the school.

“We met for about 90 minutes,” Lochman said, “and if he didn’t have an appointment, it could have easily gone on for another four hours.”

Lochman will strive to continue the success Souhegan has enjoyed, but there will be changes. The spread offense that Beliveau adopted in the past decade will be replaced by a pro style offense Lochman taught as offensive coordinator at Hollis Brookline.

“The five years I spent at Hollis Brookline were a blast,” Lochman said. “I came in a year after they won one game in Division IV and the state moved us up to Division III.”

After struggling more or less since the inception of the program, Hollis Brookline reached the playoffs for the first time in 2010 and reached them again in 2011 in a tough division.

Neither Souhegan nor Milford qualified for the playoffs that year.

“I was really happy doing what I was doing,” Lochman said. “Then Milt made the decision to step down and spend more time with his family.”

Lochman, whose wife Shelley is the head cheerleading coach at Hollis Brookline, played running back and safety on some good Merrimack teams in the early 1990s.

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